The citrus species Orange or sweet orange is a hybrid between the Citrus maxima and Citrus reticulata, which is the most cultivated fruit tree in the world. The fresh and juicy fruits loaded with Vitamin C are naturally one of the most sought after food items that can be eaten raw.
Although a large number of gardeners want to plant them at home, because of a common myth that citrus plants are hard to grow, they never try it out.
How to Grow Orange Trees & How to Care them!
Here I will give my readers the most useful and easy ways to plant and take care of their citrus plants and break the common myth in pieces. So let’s get started.
Planting Your Orange Tree
Certainly, orange trees are not at all hard to grow but there are certain measures which will make it flourish. Owning a couple of orange trees myself, I would like to guide you the entire planting process from choosing the plant to the techniques of planting in a step by step manner.
Choosing the Young tree: The first step of getting a healthy orange tree which bears sweet fruits and many healthy benefits for you is to select the most vigorous and healthy tree from your nursery. It is better to plant and take care of a healthy tree than a sick one.
Correct Time To Plant: Every plant or tree has its own favorite weather or time of the year in which they love to spread their branches and grow green leaves. Summer season is the personal favorite of the Orange trees. So try to plant them when the spring is at its end, as it will help the newborns to flourish properly.
Soil Requirements: The most important thing a gardener should know about the orange trees is that they really hate excess water. So a soil with deep drainage ability will be perfect for them. If there is any healthy ornamental tree growing in your lawn, then it is a good sign that your soil is perfect for orange trees. The pH of the soil is also a contributing factor, so make sure it is within 6-8, which you can easily test from your nearby garden center.
Weather And Temperature: Citrus or Orange trees are tropical or subtropical trees, that are not acclimatized with the frozen weather. They love heat and direct sunlight exposure. If your orange tree is getting heat for a longer period, do not worry as it is capable of tolerating scorching heat.
In case your orange tree is dying in heat then it is not healthy and maybe you need to give it some nutrients. If you are living in a weather where snowing is frequent then do not think about growing citrus in the ground. Read the next point for more details.
Location selection: Pot Vs. Ground: Selecting the location for planting citrus trees largely depends on the climatic condition of the place you live in. Suppose you are living in a place where sunlight is frequent and snow falls for a short period of time in the year then go with the second option and plant it in the ground.
However planting near the wall is appropriate than in an open place where the tree is exposed to the cold breeze. Plant at least in a distance of 5 ft from the wall or fences or pavements because it will restrict the roots to go deeper.
But, in case you reside in a place where the half of the year is covered with snow or little snowfall occurs, then you should think of planting your tree in the plastic or ceramic pot with a good drainage system. This will help you to move the plant inside at harsh, cold temperatures.
If you are planting the orange tree on the ground of the lawn, dig a circle of minimum 4 feet in diameter of the new tree. Planting the tree in a comparatively higher landscape will help to drain the excess water from the tree roots. Planting in a raised garden bed in recommended as it will give the roots enough space to breathe.
For the pot-planting, you need to fill a spacious and airy pot within 4 cm of the rim and dig enough space to accommodate the root system of the young plant. Make sure you are using a good potting mix which will allow for slumping after watering for few times.
Orange trees do not need extensive care rather they are the most independent trees that grow in the tropical and subtropical forests on their own. But because of the climatic change in your garden, it may need you to take care a little.
Watering: Your orange tree only needs thrice a week watering. Also, some orange trees can thrive well while watered for two days a week. To be frank, it depends on your soil and the health of your tree, so start exploring your tree more.
Nutrition: Organic fertilizer like Cottonseed Meal or compost is recommended once a year. You can also apply magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen for the good health of your tree. Do not fertilize the potting soil frequently as it gets less exposure to climatic changes.
Grass Control: Before planting the tree, make sure to clean the grasses at least 4 ft away in a circle from the trunk of the trees as grass competes with your tree for nutrients. Or you can apply herbicide on a wind free day so that it does not come in touch with other plants in the garden.
Mulching: You can mulch up to 3 inches deep but not closer to the trunk.
Pruning: Orange trees need very little pruning. If you see any part of the tree starts to yellow cut it immediately and take care of its health properly.
Lastly, I want to conclude with an important tip:
Orange tree takes the time to acclimatize with the climate, so when the first snow of the season starts to fall, take the plant inside and put in some place where it gets at least a little sunlight or warmth. The absolute absence of sun ray can affect your plant’s good health.